Where does cricket go from here? Meet our second panellist: The MCC’s Andy Muggleton

Less than a month till our big event at Lord’s and you don’t want to miss this one! Cricket is as topical as ever at the moment with the World Cup and the Ashes coming back-to-back this summer, so there’s no better time to discuss the future of the sport and to try to understand how the game can capitalise on the tournaments’ coverage and popularity over the past months.

Our event, ‘Where Does Cricket Go From Here?’ looks to explore in more depth how the growth of the game will be impacted from the summer we’ve had, getting the very best insight from experts in their fields: Owen Hughes, a senior manager and Head of Global Sponsorship at Nissan, who sponsor many cricket events across the year. Andy Muggleton, Assistant Secretary at Marylebone Cricket Club and Lord’s will also be in attendance, as will Chris Hurst who is the moderator for the event, who’s worked at BBC Sport and the ICC.

We’re delighted to announce our panellists and with that we want you to know a little more about them and give you a taste of what to expect for the event in September! So, we caught up with Andy Muggleton to understand more about what he does and get some insight into the future of cricket…

Profile

Andy has 20 years’ experience in leading roles across sport and entertainment including commercial operations, consultancy, communications, event management, sponsorship sales and sports marketing.

In 2003, he co-founded Generate, which grew to be the largest independent sport and entertainment agency in the UK before selling to Mongoose Sports and Entertainment in March 2016. Andy stayed on to lead and grow the commercial rights division, responsible for global clients across multiple sports and entertainment sectors until earlier this year when he joined MCC as the new Assistant Secretary for Commercial. Andy is focused on evolving and growing the commercial operations for MCC and Lord’s, including Sponsorship, Hospitality, M&E, Retail, Tours and Debentures, as well as new initiatives.

Andy, could you tell us a little about yourself and your history working with the Cricket industry?

“I wanted to play cricket professionally, but didn’t quite get there. I played to a decent level, I played one ‘A’ game which is pretty much first class, but realised I was a bit short of what was needed and decided to try and get some work behind the scenes and essentially got into the world of sports marketing.

“I found it interesting, it got me out of bed everyday, enjoyed the understanding of investment into sport, how to commercialise rights and assets, starting from a small sports marketing agency who own their own rights in beach soccer and beach rugby, motorsports, and so on, and then moved to sport business to be part of a big investment into an online dating agency for sports rights owners and sponsors called Sports Market Place.

” Whilst there I met and worked with Rupert Pratt. We struck up a good working relationship and in 2003 we left sport business to set up Generate. Generate was another sports entertainment marketing agency focusing primarily on rights owners but then grew into managing relationships on behalf of sponsors and offering services across the board. So, we became a full service sports marketing and entertainment agency.

“Then in 2016 we sold that and until six weeks ago I was working for the same guys who bought the company, helping them grow the business. We were primarily focussed on rights holders, consulting and commercialising assets. So when I was approached about the role here at the MCC you can see that it aligned with my interest and love for cricket, but also with my commercial background in sport. I’m six weeks into the best induction you can probably dream of, following the world cup and the heroics of the England team. The historic Ireland test and now we’re into the Ashes.”

What was your take on England and the World Cup? Did you expect England to win it from the start?

“Firstly, no I didn’t expect us to win it. I thought we had a good chance but I thought there were four top teams who could have won it on their day. I think that’s the thing about one-day cricket, it comes down to the day, the conditions, a bit of luck, and any of the top teams can beat each other on their day.

“Naturally I was hopeful, and the stats going into the World Cup tell a story, England were, as it transpired, the best team, and have been for the last 18 months or so, but no I don’t think we quite expected how close it was going to be. I thought the World Cup was a fantastic advert for the game, and I think this England team came back from almost being written off by the media, needing to win their last four games on the bounce, but I think it showed some fighting spirit.

“I do think for the state of the game in terms of performance, we’re in a good place in terms of the talent of the side, but I think more importantly it’s given the game a boost and injection at grass-roots level. I think more people have shown an interest as a result of the World Cup. The final was incredible on so many levels and I think what it’s done is hopefully inspired a next generation of cricketers, but also fans, who are being brought into the game as well, which is really important. People I spoke to have said I used to hate cricket but now I can’t stop watching it. So it’s done something really important on a couple of levels.”

Does Cricket face problems growing for the future?

“I think the World Cup will have had a positive impact, undoubtedly. I think you’ve got to look at the governing bodies of the sport. I think the ECB are investing a huge amount into the grassroots of the game and naturally the 100 is another means to bring new audiences into the game and the platforms that they’re gonna be broadcasting through are an example of what they’re trying to do to broaden the reach and the appeal.

“We’ve got a governing body who’s looking to reach new audiences and bring in new people as much as 20-20 did 20 years ago. Cricket’s perception, up until the World Cup, was that’s slow and dull for new audiences so it’s going to serve a good purpose in changing perceptions of the game. I think there’s too much investment into the new format to let it fail essentially, and I think it’s good, it’s got people talking.”

Are you fancying England to win the Ashes?

“I think going into the series it was going to be hard to call. I think they’re both balanced sides and both bowling attacks are strong, but I think James Anderson being out is a real blow.

“It would be fantastic for them to come back. Hopefully we’ll give an opportunity to some of the young talent coming through to step up to the plate and I think it’s going to be intriguing.”

The next Digital Sport London event will take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on September 9th. We’ll be talking about the future of cricket with Owen Hughes, Nissan; Chris Hurst, ex-BBC and ICC; and Andy Muggleton, MCC.

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